Terps struggle in 85-62 win over North Florida

December 29, 2010|By Mike Miller, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland sophomore center Jordan Williams had missed his previous nine free throws when he stepped to the line for the final time with 2:29 remaining in Wednesday's game against North Florida.

Williams' free throw struggles have been well documented this season and when he finally made his first free throw of the night with the game all but over, the announced crowd of 13,894 at Comcast Center offered a mock cheer for the Maryland big man.

The problems that plagued the Maryland men's basketball team for much of its early non-conference schedule returned Wednesday, causing an 85-62 win over the Ospreys to feel much less decisive than the scoreboard showed.

Coach Gary Williams would not elaborate on the exact areas that frustrated him, but his group turned the ball over 17 times in a game that saw seven lead changes in the first half and the group failed to strike a balance on both ends of the court against a North Florida squad that has now lost five in a row.

"I have to look at the video," the coach said. "I have concerns like every coach this time of year has concerns. There will be things we'll work on in the gym. I think we showed the rustiness or whatever you want to call it tonight. But it's something you have to play through because it's January, February now so you have to be ready to go."

Despite his poor free-throw shooting, Jordan Williams led the Terps in scoring with 17 points and added 11 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double and 11th of the season.

The streak is the longest by a Maryland player since Joe Smith put together seven straight double-doubles in 1995. Still, the center can't help but wonder how much better his line could have been had he connected from the foul line.

"I'm probably going to shoot 200 after everyone leaves tonight," Williams said. "I just have to hit my free throws. I can't put my finger on it. If I could then I would have made them. I'm not going to give up."

Also for a Maryland team that had five players finish in double digits scoring, junior guard Sean Mosley had 15 points and senior guard Cliff Tucker finished with 14 points, all of which came in the second half.

After the games, Gary Williams was especially complimentary of Mosley, who played 29 minutes and was one of only a few Terps to play consistent from start to finish.

"I played him with four fouls in the second half because we needed what he was giving," Gary Williams said. "Not the points, just the aggressiveness and things like that. When Sean's on his game he can lift the team a little bit with his style of play."

Maryland's perimeter defense was also absent for much of the night as the Ospreys shot a combined 7-for-18 from behind the arc. Sophomore guard Parker Smith led North Florida with 21 points, including four 3-pointers and Jerron Granberry added 16 points.

"We don't like to make excuses but its just our intensity. We gotta keep it up," said freshman guard Terrell Stoglin, who had 13 points.

Twice in the first half Maryland players missed easy layup opportunities after rushing down the court unguarded.

But the Terps owned a 43-31 lead at halftime and the win was Maryland's ninth consecutive over non-conference opponents at home.

NOTES: It was announced prior to the game that freshman forward Ashton Pankey will undergo season-ending surgery to correct a stress fracture in his left leg. Pankey missed his entire senior season because of the injury and has played in only three minutes of one game this season.

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